Lightning re-sign winger Afanasenkov to one-year deal

Updated: July 12, 2006, 7:43 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

TAMPA -- Dmitry Afanasenkov is back for another season with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Lightning on Wednesday re-signed the Russian left wing to a one-year, $738,045 contract, but then expressed reservations about his play.

 
Afanasenkov

"This is an incredibly important year for Affy," Lightning executive vice president and general manager Jay Feaster said. "He needs to demonstrate that he has the ability to play consistently in a top-two line situation, play on the PP (power play) and be productive."

The 26-year-old Afanasenkov collected a career-high nine goals and six assists in 68 games with the Lightning this past season. He also had one assist in five postseason games.

In 153 career games over four seasons -- all with Tampa Bay -- the 6-2, 200-pounder Afanasenkov has 16 goals and 17 assists, but the Lightning are hesitant to invest in the winger for the long haul.

"In a salary cap world he is running out of time to demonstrate that he can produce and do it consistently," Feaster said. "We would like to negotiate a longer-term deal with him at some point, but he has to go out and prove it to us first. The time is now and we are hoping for a big year from him."